1369. Beauty. –A sun which dwells in the souls of all… ~“A Chapter of Definitions,” Daily Crescent, 1848, June 23rd

Beauty unites all things, 
links together flower and star,
with chains more certain 
than those of reason.
The poet, the artist, thus finds
 the clue which
guides them in their 
pilgrimage throughout the world.
~Henry James Slack,
The Ministry of the Beautiful, 1850

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As many of you know, I have suffered with chronic pain since I was around 25 years old, and since I will be 75 in 6 months, that’s 50 years of coping not only to survive the pain but to thrive in life as well. In a recent conversation regarding that statistic a fellow blogger thought it interesting that I surround myself with beauty and lovely words. And it occurred to me that I, in fact, had been doing that more and more as the years rolled on. Maybe I some how knew they could and would help me survive the “dark nights of the soul” and “guide me through my difficult pilgrimage in this world.” And perhaps again ‘tis why finding this clematis abloom in the yard this week thrilled me almost beyond what words can adequately convey. But as I think it’s important for all of us to find something profoundly uplifting for ourselves, I shall try. Last spring I went in a local nursery to buy some seeds, and as I made my way to the back of the store where they were kept, I passed this pure white clematis you see in the photo. But since I had already spent my bi-monthly yard allowance,  I forced myself to walk on by. I hadn’t gone very far however, when I decided to go back and see how much the beauty was. Of course it was a tad pricey as I expected, but it was so very beautiful and already full of buds. About that time I heard someone call my name and turned round to find my next door neighbor standing nearby. She asked what I was looking at and I told her to come and see. We both agreed it was exceptionally beautiful, and she asked if I was going to buy it. Woefully I told her, “No, I’d better not,” and headed off to get my seeds, and she headed up to the front to make her purchases. When I found my seeds, I did the same and even went down a different aisle so as not to be tempted to go over budget. And I actually got almost to the cash register before I said to myself, “Natalie, you know you will regret it a hundred times over if you don’t buy something you love that much.” So I went back, picked it up, and brought it home. For weeks, its blooms delighted me and then as the summer’s torrid heat befell us, it quit blooming which is what happens here with a lot of things. But to my utter surprise, it began blooming again in the fall when the temps began to drop below the “fry” level. So I patted myself on the back for having bought it because not only was it beautiful, it was also going to be a repetitive source of joy and delight. Then as winter approached, I hired someone to come clear the yard of all the spent and dead perennials. Unfortunately the industrious little soul took it upon himself to venture into the area where this treasure was, and by the time I discovered him there, he had already cut it completely down to the ground. So after he left, I lamented with tears that it might not come back in the spring, and that even if it did, it might not bloom for another year or two. So you can imagine how excited I was when a few weeks ago, I saw new growth coming up from where it had been. Then as it climbed up and up and I discovered buds, I squealed like a happy child. Finally to find a few days ago that one of the buds had opened was all that it took for the “sun to bloom in my soul” despite some recent very difficult pain-filled days. Everyone faces trials and suffering in this world, not the same as mine perhaps, but suffering nonetheless. So I pray that all of you find some way or some things that let the sun shine in your soul as well as guide you on your path and pilgrimage through life. God’s Holy Spirit will indwell in you, if you but believe in Him and ask, and it is the Holy Spirit who will point the way to the “sun,” the light that will illuminate and hearten your passage here.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ~John 14:26  ✝

1352. If God had wanted to be a big secret, He would not have created babbling brooks and whispering pines. ~Robert Brault

Nor would He have created blue skies, nor sandy beaches nor stars above, nor beautiful flowers, nor falling snow, and on and on the list of clues goes. God wants to speak to us through all that He has made. All of Creation gives pointers into Yahweh’s mystery because it is part of His grand plan that we draw near Him for in so doing we discover our divinely-inspired and eternal connection to Abba, our Loving Father.

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The most beautiful thing
we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and all science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer pause to wonder
and stand rapt in awe, is as good
as dead: his eyes are closed.
~Albert Einstein

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Einstein is right; it’s impossible for science to explain everything and in the pause of wonder, rapt in awe, we come to appreciate the endless and vast wonders of what God’s mind imagined, what His words spoke, and what His hands created. Thus in being brought close to the heart and mind of God, one’s sense of childlike astonishment returns the I nexpressible joy and utter excitement of life. And it helps us to know on a more conscious level that there’s more to life than what we can understand and explain. That’s why I like to think of the unfathomable mysteries around us as sacred benedictions, blessing at the close of earth’s daily holy orders that encourage us to stay in the Lord’s keeping and to continue looking for more revelations of the Holy One’s nature and intent for our lives.

Who…is like You, LORD? Who is like You—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? ~Excerpted passage from Exodus 15:11  ✝

**These images were taken in the springtime, but that chair and others like it are always in close proximity to my door, and I sit in them on most everyday of the year even if it’s for just a short while.

1344. “Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am,” (~John 8:58 ✝), a passage of Scripture which tells us that the Lord existed before His human life on earth.

The passages of Holy Writ below are seven other
“I am” statements made by our Lord.

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“I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger.” ~John 6:35  ✝

“I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” ~John 8:12  ✝

“I am the gate; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” ~John 10:9  ✝

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.” ~John 10:11  ✝

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” ~John 11:25  ✝

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” ~John 14:6  ✝

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” ~John 15:1  ✝

The great “I am” had:
no servants, yet they called him Master.
no degree, yet they called him Teacher.
no medicines, yet they called him Healer.
no army, yet kings feared Him.
won no military battles, yet He overcame the world
and conquered death.
committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
And though He was buried in a tomb,
yet He lives today. His name is Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:1-5  ✝

**Image found on the Internet; text box addd by Natalie

1336. Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. ~Charles Dickens

Although time seems to fly, it never travels faster than one day at a time. Each day is a new opportunity to live your life to the fullest. In each waking day, you will find scores of blessings and opportunities for positive change. Do not let your TODAY be stolen by the unchangeable past or the indefinite future! Today is a new day! ~Steve Maraboli

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Blessing
May you wake with a sense of play,
An exultation of the possible.
May you rest without guilt,
Satisfied at the end of a day well done.
May all the rough edges be smoothed,
If to smooth is to heal,
And the edges be left rough,
When the unpolished is more true
And infinitely more interesting.
May you wear your years like a well-tailored coat
Or a brave sassy scarf.
May every year yet to come:
Be one more bright button
Sewn on a hat you wear at a tilt.
May the friendships you’ve sown
Grown tall as summer corn.
And the things you’ve left behind,
Rest quietly in the unchangeable past.
May you embrace this day,
Not just as any old day,
But as this day.
Your day.
Held in trust
By you,
In a singular place,
Called now.

BY CARRIE NEWCOMER

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. ~Ephesians 1:3  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie; border and text added on PicFont

1254. The Holy Spirit in every single soul “prays in us with unspeakable groanings.” ~Excerpted from a quote by Edith Stein

Holy Spirit, you are welcome here! Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere!
May you have a truly blessed Sabbath and feel the touch of Christ’s presence!

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Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord
I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord
CHORUS
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
~Excerpted lyrics written by
Cyril Garrett Neville, Gaynielle H. Neville,
Hack Bartholomew, Norman Caesar

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ~John 14:26  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1155. A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars. ~Victor Hugo

I haven’t much time to be fond of anything…
but when I have a moment’s fondness
to bestow, most times…the roses get it.
I began my life among them
in my father’s nursery garden, and
I shall end my life among them, if I can.
~Wilkie Collins

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The garden is the place I go for refuge and shelter, not the house. In the house are duties and annoyances, servants to exhort and admonish, furniture, and meals; but out there blessings crowd round me at every step — it is there that I am sorry for the unkindness in me, for those selfish thoughts that are so much worse than they feel; it is there that all my sins and silliness are forgiven, there that I feel protected and at home, and every flower and weed is a friend and every tree a lover. When I have been vexed I run to them for comfort, and when I have been angry without just cause, it is there I find absolution. Did ever a woman have so many friends? And always the same, always ready to welcome me and fill me with cheerful thoughts. Happy children of a common Father, why should I, their own sister, be less content and joyous than they? ~Elizabeth von Arnim

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Gardens and chocolate
both have mystical qualities.
~Edward Flaherty

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I would hurry to my place of shelter far from the tempest and the storm. ~Psalm 55:8 ✝

**All flower images taken by me in my yard; lower most chocolate image via Pinterest

1063. Remembering Norman…

I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces all day through
I’ll be seeing you in every lovely summer’s day
In everything that’s light and gay
I’ll always think of you that way
I’ll find you in the mornin’ sun
And when the night is new
I’ll be looking at the moon
But I’ll be seeing you
~Excerpted lyrics by Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain

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It’s funny how an old song just pops into your head for no apparent reason. Maybe it was something in the morning light like it said in this old song, a song that was much loved during WWII when it became an anthem for those serving overseas. I remember listening to it on the radio as a child, and then later on I heard it again and again in movies about the war. From the get go it was a favorite of mine, and it has stuck with me over the years. Thus for whatever reason, it came to me again in the day’s first light. Since the song always reminds me of my dad, I was thinking about Norman as I started looking at posts on Facebook. The first one I saw was the one in the collage about the impact losing your dad has on your life, and that’s when the tears started running down my face even though it has been over 50 years since he died. It was 1961. I had just turned 18, I was a freshman in college, and yet at times the hurt still feels like it happened only yesterday. I’ve read that “our lives are defined by moments, especially the ones we never see coming.” And this one certainly defined mine. Though we weren’t exactly blindsided by it, it was quick enough that it hit us all like we’d never seen it coming. Dad had a massive heart attack on a Friday night and by Saturday night he was gone. No last smile, no last hug, no last kiss, no last goodbye! And I remember in the aftermath, people trying to comfort me with words, but like the quote in the collage says, “Somethings cannot be fixed.” Ever! “They can only be carried.” So here’s to my sweet daddy, Norman. I’ve been remembering you today, and I do carry you still wherever I go. I found you again today in the morning sun, and I’ll be seeing you again because you truly are never far from my thoughts. Love, Natalie

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. ~1 Corinthians 13:1-3  ✝